Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Sexy Policeman & a Wedding in Bogota

After my tour of Cartagena, Medellin, and Salento, it was time for the main event:  Bogota!  As I mentioned in the last blog, the reason I was in Colombia was for a wedding, and the nuptials were the grand finale of my visit in Colombia.  But before that, I had over a week to explore the city.

A few highlights of my time in Bogota:

Museo Botero:
Museums are a big deal in Bogota and they are of high quality.  My favourite was Museo Botero – devoted to all things Botero.  The museum houses a massive collection of his paintings and sculptures and has a fantastic audio guide which provides interesting facts on many of his top works.  The museum also houses works from other famous artists such as Pablo Picasso.  Exceptional.

Museo del Oro:
Most guide books describe the Gold Museum as one of the best museums in Latin America.  And it is.  The collection is huge and the free English-language tour made us look at the gold pieces in a way that the text on the signage just couldn’t.  The museum was one of my 103 Things and I was super stoked to check it off my list.  Another exceptional museum experience!

Museo Historico Policia:
The Police Historical Museum has a great collection of artifacts mainly surrounding Pablo Escobar and other notorious criminals.  The main event for most visitors is Escobar’s red-turned-pink motorcycle and displays on the events that led to his capture/death.  The museum is only accessible on a guided tour and I had my own private tour guide that morning.  And that was the main event for me.  All of the tour guides are police officers and I was assigned to this stud muffin drool-worthy 20-year old in uniform.  He smelled nice.  I could hardly pay attention to anything he was saying.  I wanted him to frisk me.

He didn’t.  I was heartbroken.

Other museums:
Elsewhere in Bogota, I visited the Museo de Arte Moderno (it’s cool, but not nearly as good as Medellin’s modern art museum), the Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara (with its religious colonial art), and the Museo Nacional (a massive museum detailing Colombia’s history and art).  The Banco de la Republica museum complex where Museo Botero was located also has massive sections for art and the history of money in Colombia.

Elsewhere in Bogota:
I took a recommended graffiti tour one morning in the old part of the city.  I also checked out a few of their malls (I had purchased a suit for the wedding in Medellin but still needed shoes and a belt).  I had some time to enjoy a few cafes, and most importantly, I got interviewed for Colombian TV.  I’m not sure if I ever made it on the air, but another traveller and I were pulled aside by a local news crew to ask our opinion on new informational signs that the city installed for tourists.  I’m so famous.  Martha & Thiago also invited all of the visitors out for a night of drinks and dancing at a club/restaurant with live music in one of the trendier parts of town.

Outside of Bogota:
Martha & Thiago arranged a bus to take all of the foreign visitors to a few sights in the countryside.  The most famous is the salt cathedral at Zipaquira.  At 180 metres below the ground, the salt cathedral is a massive church built into an old salt mine and one of only three like it in the world.  The other two are randomly in Poland.  Aside from the church, there was an introductory movie and a light show.  Very weird.  But very cool.  The trip also included a stop at the small town of Guatavita to visit their small museum and check out the man-made lake, and the town of Sopo, home to the Alpina dairy brand.  Alpina has a massive store there where we stopped to pick up some delicious dairy desserts.  Yummy!

The big day:
I had a prequel to the wedding the weekend before the big day.  As the first foreigner to arrive in the city, I was invited out to Martha’s uncle’s farm for a big family BBQ and get-together.  I was the only gringo.  I can speak some Spanish one-on-one but a big group trying to talk to me just goes straight over my head.  Some of the cousins tried to make me dance.  I’m Jewish.  I have no rhythm.  These people can salsa all night long and it looks effortless.  I humoured them for about fifteen seconds before I escaped to the bathroom.  Thank god there were no Colombian gays there to see my terrible moves.

The main event was the following weekend at Martha’s family’s church in the countryside outside of Bogota.  The ceremony was beautiful but super long.  Leave it to the Catholics to make religious weddings painful.  They were delaying my cake!  But it was all worth the wait:  the reception was a ton of fun!  The food was delicious, the drinks were free flow, the music was good, the dancing was fun (there were other gringos there so I didn’t feel so embarrassed dancing among the talented Colombians) and Martha & Thiago have a great group of friends that I was introduced to.  It was a fantastic night!

I would like to thank Martha & Thiago for the invitation.  It was such a great event and I’m so glad I was able to come share their special day with them – and get the chance to explore Colombia too! I wouldn’t have come to this spectacular country had it not been for them.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  why haven’t I mentioned Colombian food?  Don’t worry:  I will.  But first, let me take a selfie.

I was the only guest tacky enough to take a selfie with the bride and groom.

To see more photos of my time in Bogota, follow this link:

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